My lovely wife of 13 years has a lot of memorabilia she has held onto from her childhood and randomly pulls out an item to share with me from time to time. (I’m actually jealous of her collection, as the only things I still have from my childhood are whatever can be stored in the gray matter under my cap, and that is quickly running out of space.)
Over the years, she has shared with me newspaper clippings, old crayon art, travel ticket stubs, report cards, letters from her pen pal and much more.
Recently, she shared with me a reward slip that one of her grade school teachers used to apply various colorful stickers to when one of her students did an exceptional job on a particular assignment. (I believe this one was for spelling.)
As she shared this fond memory with me, she giddily expressed how she loved receiving those colorful stickers. We both chuckled at how small things like this were such a big deal when we were kids.
Of course, as often happens when the two of us converse, this led to talking more about how little things should still be a big deal. Things like …
- The smell of coffee brewing on a cool fall morning. Who doesn’t get excited about that?
- Or, the feel of fresh clean sheets after a long day.
- The authentic laughter of someone you hold dear.
- That small ray of sunshine on a cool winter day that allows us to feel the spring even if only for a moment.
We grow up and put so much stock in the big things like job promotions, a new car, a bigger home, a dream vacation, etc., that we miss some of the small things that make those big things so rewarding.
A job promotion is great, but are you enjoying the sights and sounds of your commute?
My personal commute involves driving over a causeway that spans the Laguna Madre. There are times that I am in such a hurry getting to or from work, that I forget to take in the lovely sight of boats speeding to their fishing grounds and pelicans swooping in for their share of the lagoon’s bounty. The kite surfers taking advantage of a stiff breeze and the old men lined up along the banks in their big floppy hats minding multiple fishing rods poking out of the sandy beach.
Shame on me for not appreciating this every single time I cross this bridge.
We have been blessed with a beautiful home on the island. It’s by no means the grandest home in our neighborhood, but we fell in love with it almost immediately. Though we love this home, the small memories we are making within its walls with each other, and friends and family that visit, are far more valuable than any price tag the good folks at Zillow could attach to it.
New cars? At my age, I’ve had so many that it’s hard to be impressed much anymore. But I am still enthralled by the many conversations we’ve had on our road trips, long and short. The moonlight drives we’ve taken along the shoreline. The sunrises we’ve witnessed from the bed of our truck.
And of course, our camping trips.
Dream vacations? Yes, we’ve had some nice ones and look forward with great anticipation to the next one. Of course, Jac will tell you, I hate to fly, and the last few years have taken something I didn’t like doing in the first place and turned it into an event straight out of a nightmare.
Here’s the scenario:
Estimated Time of Departure: 5:30 am
Drive time to the airport when we lived in North Texas: Approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Required arrival time for flight: 3:30 am
So, in order for us to leave the airport on a 5:30 am flight, we had to leave our house at 2:00 am which meant getting up at midnight in order to get ready to go.
WE HAVE FIVE HOURS INVESTED IN THIS FLIGHT AND ARE STILL ON THE GROUND, MAN!!
But wait, there’s more!
Once you arrive at the airport, the real fun begins.
If you’ve flown commercially in the last few years, I’m not going to bore you with the details. You know … man, do you know!
Putting all of that aside in the interest of brevity here, even with all of the melee involved with flying, there are moments that truly make the whole affair worthwhile.
My greatest moment on these flights is the part where we landed and didn’t die.
I truly love that part!
I also get excited about the fact that my cell phone will be useless for the duration of the flight. It truly is becoming about the only place I can read a book uninterrupted by the constant ding-dang-dong of this miniature computer straight from the lowest recesses of hell.
More than any of this, though, are the moments where we find ourselves completely relaxed and at peace with each other and the world. For a few short days, life isn’t expecting much from us, and we are free to daydream, write, read or just do nothing.
The older I get, the more I relish the moments of life much more than the big events.
These moments are where we all truly live and will be the most important things we take with us when we leave this world.
They will also be the most valuable things we leave to those who must remain here without us.
It is my most sincere hope that everyone reading these thoughts today will let their inner first-grader out for a little while to play.
Get excited about the sight of a butterfly taking nectar from a bud.
Giggle at the idea of an ice cream cone.
Throw your arms around a loved one and squeeze them like you’ll never let them go.
Allow some wonder into your soul.
Until we meet again,
Peace to you and those you love,
Roger and Me